South Africans strain under spam callers

Phone call. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Phone call. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – A survey has confirmed what many South Africans may have suspected: Spam callers are running amok among local mobile subscribers.

According to data from Truecaller, 50 000 spam and unwanted calls are detected every day in South Africa as spammers take advantage of people new to mobile phones.

“Thousands of smartphone users are the victims of spammers in South Africa every day,” said Husain Misherghi, vice president of growth and partnerships for Truecaller.

The company, based in Sweden, has 1.4 million South African subscribers who use the application to block unwanted calls to mobile phones.

The app is able to identify some mobile phone numbers as well as landline numbers and location. In the case of people who call from private or hidden numbers, subscribers have the option to block calls automatically.


“You can protect yourself with Truecaller by reporting spam and unwanted numbers, and blocking them forever. That information is listed in our database and we report it to Truecaller's community of users, providing a safe and secure communication experience for all South Africans with easy, hassle-free calls,” said Misherghi.

READ: SA call centres face social media evolution

In SA, the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popi) mandates that companies can collect information with the permission of "data subjects", and many firms are actively working to build in-house databases, rather than buy names from third parties.

In addition, the rise of ad blocking software is a direct threat to advertisers’ revenue. This will have the effect of forcing ad companies to re-evaluate their online strategies.

“Publishers, brands, and the adtech companies are still shaping the future of advertising. However, the future might include an element of paid subscriptions for users who don’t want to see advertising at all, more use of native advertising as a way of offering experiences that feel natural within the publisher’s environment, and the use of the platforms that the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Apple News, and Medium offer for publishers,” said Richard Clogg, Web Analytics director at Acceleration.

The company recently launched a Truedialler application that automatically synchronises your diary with your phone to prevent people from calling when you’re busy.

“It seems unusual that in a world where we can talk to each other over our phones, map our locations wherever we are with pinpoint accuracy and stream our current activity, that we still haven’t figured out when to let people know when we’re free to talk in real time,” said Alan Mamedi, CEO of Truecaller.

How many spam calls do you get? Let us know

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